# Chapter 5. Operators

An *operator*
is a symbol or keyword that manipulates, combines, or transforms
data. If you’re new to programming, you’ll notice that
some mathematical operators, like + (addition) and - (subtraction)
are very familiar. In other cases, you’ll have to learn special
programming syntax even if the concepts are familiar. For example, to
multiply two numbers, ActionScript uses the symbol
`*`

(the multiplication operator) instead of the
`X`

typically taught in grade school. For example,
this multiplies 5 times 6:

5 * 6;

# General Features of Operators

Though each operator has its own specialized task, all operators share a number of general characteristics. Before we consider the operators individually, let’s see how they behave generally.

## Operators and Expressions

Operators
perform some action using the data values
(`operands`

)
supplied. For example, in the operation `5 * 6`

, the
numbers 5 and 6 are the *operands* of the
multiplication operator (`*`

). The operands can be
any kind of expression, for example:

player1score + bonusScore; // Operands are variables (x + y) - (Math.PI * radius * radius); // Operands are complex expressions

Observe in the second example that both the left and right operands of the - operator are expressions that themselves involve other operations. We can use complex expressions to create even larger expressions, such as:

((x + y) - (Math.PI * radius * radius)) / 2 // Divide the whole thing by 2

When expressions become very large, consider using variables to ...

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